Trying to come up with easy, healthy dinner ideas can be harder than it looks. When you have a lot going on in life, it is so tempting to pick-up the phone or go online to get take-out. Precooked meals from a restaurant are going to be unhealthy and contain high amounts of sugar, salt and (unhealthy) fats. Even if you order a salad, many times the salad comes with ingredients that do not have nutrition, like croutons and dressings with a lot of sugar.
How can you create healthy dinners that are easy and support a well balanced diet? Meal planning is the answer! Planning meals takes the stress out of deciding what to cook for dinner. By having a written or digital list of the dinners you plan on making not only ensures you are feeding everyone a healthy meal but also provides health benefits, such as maintaining a healthy weight. Plus, cooking meals at home, creates happy memories. You can even get others to help with the cooking, making it a family activity.
One question I frequently get asked is if meal planning works when someone in the house has a food sensitivity or allergy. It absolutely does!
Choosing the recipes will make you think about any food sensitivities or allergies in your family. How do you know if someone has a food sensitivity or allergy? Typical signs are if the person has bloating, excessive gas after eating or abdominal pain anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours after eating.
Other symptoms could be:
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation, and intestinal discomfort
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Hives, flushing, and itchy skin
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
However, some food allergies and sensitivities are harder to detect. It may take a couple of days before someone feels physical symptoms. Who remembers what they ate a couple of days ago? Unfortunately, food allergies and sensitivities can be masked by symptoms that are uncomfortable and appear to be some other ailment.
One method of figuring out if a food allergy or sensitivity is causing a symptom is to follow an elimination diet. Another is to take an at-home food sensitivity test from Everly Well or The Great Plains Laboratory.
Once diagnosed, eliminate those foods from the eating routine for at least 4 weeks. Then only occasionally eat them, maybe once a month. If that doesn't relieve the symptoms completely, it may be time to work with a holistic nutritionist.
A Certified Holistic Nutritionist will take a full body approach, review your lifestyle, eating routines, stress and symptoms. Taking into account a persons entire life gets to the root cause of ailments. Then a plan to eliminate the symptoms can be created. Not sure where to start? I am here to help!
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering from the embarrassing effects of an unhealthy gut so you can get back to living. I offer a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a plan on how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Health program.
How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:
✅Be more present with your children
✅Thrive in your career
✅Improve your communication and your relationships
✅Have more fun!
✅Move your body and improve your fitness
✅Lose weight and feel better about yourself
✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family
✅Take an active vacation
✅Reclaim your life!
Simply Great Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple.
No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
Here's a four steps to help you get started planning healthy meals:
1) Choose the recipes you want to make.
This will force you to look in the pantry to see if you have the necessary ingredients or not. Also, you can determine if adjustments are needed based on the likes, dislikes and sensitivities of your family. For example, I recently made a vegan lasagna but the recipe called for eggplant. My significant other hates eggplant. So I adjusted by adding green peppers and mushrooms with zucchini.
2) Check-out sales at the grocery store.
Sometimes, I am uninspired until I see a specific product on sale. For example, my local grocery store had organic chicken on sale. So I knew I would make something with chicken during the week since it was on sale. Other times, if I see new products that offer a sale to try them, I will pick them up and keep them in the pantry. That way, when I am ready to try it I know I bought it at a great price.
3) Find meals that can be made ahead of time.
This allows you to create a heat and eat strategy. Going back to the vegan lasagna, I made that on Saturday. We heated it up and ate it on Tuesday. Plus, we had left-overs for lunch! I love when that happens. Multiple meals for the price of one!
4) Ask for help!
This is a hard one. But you don't have to do it all. Ask someone in the house to chop up veggies for a stir-fry or make rice as a side dish. It is great to have help in the kitchen and if you have children in the house, it is good to get them involved in the kitchen so they can learn how to cook.
Now that your ready to prep for a weeks worth of meals, how about some recipe inspiration? Below are 5 healthy dinner ideas for quick weeknight dinners. I hope they inspire you!
Healthy Chicken Stir Fry from Wholefully.
This recipe only takes 30 minutes from prep to table and this is a great recipe to get the family involved in helping. Carrots, peppers and mushrooms need to be chopped. The recipe uses frozen broccoli (love that shortcut) and the marinade for the chicken only needs to be on the chicken while the veggies are being cut-up. Click here for the recipe.
Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers from Ambitious Kitchen.
Stuffed peppers are a dish I serve often for vegetarian night in my household. They are so easy and versatile. I will stuff them on the weekend and then on the night we are going to eat them, I simply ask my significant other to put them in the oven 30-40 minutes before I get home. They are ready to eat when I get home! Click here for the recipe.
Mediterranean Pasta from Well Plated.
In 20 minutes you can have dinner on the table. Don't believe it? Try this pasta recipe. It is also really healthy. Warming up the chopped tomatoes activates the lycopene content. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps support cellular health. Using black olives and fresh garlic helps support a healthy heart. Click here for the recipe.
Easy Bruschetta Chicken from Lively Table.
This is so simple and can be paired with any side dish. Pasta, roasted potatoes or broccoli and a salad. Chicken only takes 20 minutes to cook (typically) and with the minimal prep on the other sides (besides the potatoes) you can have dinner in 30 minutes. Click here for the recipe.
Easy Beef and Broccoli from Damn Delicious.
The recipe promises it will be made in 15 minutes and you know it is healthier than take-out! The beef is flank steak which can be a little pricey. My local grocery store sells a beef stir-fry cut or you may be able to find an organic red meat that is on sale as a substitute. Also, organic frozen broccoli florets are a stable in my house. Pre-cut and heats up fast in stir-frys! Click here for the recipe.
I hope the recipes I shared inspired you to start doing a little meal planning and ditch the take-out.
Do you think you will try any of the recipes? Let me know by leaving a comment below.